Feb. 22, 2003
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Ohio State (17-8; 8-6 Big Ten) tips off against No. 10/11 Purdue (21-4; 10-3 Big Ten) at 1 p.m. EST Sunday, Feb. 23, in Value City Arena. This is the second time the Buckeyes and the Boilers have met this season; Purdue captured a 67-62 win in West Lafayette earlier this season.
Today’s contest also marks the last regular-season game in Value City Arena for the Buckeyes. The final game of the season is vs. Michigan in St. John Arena at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27. The Buckeye-Wolverine matchup will honor seniors Courtney Coleman, DiDi Reynolds and D’wan Shackelford and will also commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the 1993 Final Four team.
THE PURDUE SERIES
While Ohio State holds a 26-18 advantage in the all-time record books, Purdue has dominated the series recently. The Boilermakers lost the first 20 games they played against Ohio State from 1976 to 1990, however since then, they have won 18 of the last 27 contests, including the past five games in a row against Ohio State.
LAST TIME VS. PURDUE
The No. 23 Ohio State women’s basketball team (15-5; 6-3 Big Ten) lost to No. 9/10 Purdue (18-3; 7-2 Big Ten), 67-62, Feb. 2 at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind. The Buckeyes were led by sophomore Caity Matter, who scored 22 points (7-12) and was 5-for-5 from behind the 3-point line in the first half. Senior Courtney Coleman tallied 15 points (7-9) and freshman Kim Wilburn distributed a career-best 11 assists and had only two turnovers vs. the Boilermakers.
Buckeye senior DiDi Reynolds nailed a 3-pointer with 47 seconds to go and pulled her squad to within two points (64-62) of the Boilermakers, but with 23 ticks left on the clock Purdue’s Shereka Wright, who led her team with 21 points (four in the first half) and a perfect 11-for-11 stroke from the line, created a three-point play with a field goal under the basket and a subsequent free throw to seal the victory.
The Buckeyes went into halftime with a one-point advantage (34-33) and opened the second half with Coleman hitting two consecutive shots to put Ohio State ahead 38-33. The Boilermakers went on a 14-3 run to take a six-point lead (47-41) with 15:06 to play. Purdue maintained a modest advantage until Matter nailed one of her six total treys at the 6:18 mark and knotted the game for the eighth time at 55. Sophomore Ashley Allen sent Ohio State up by two on the next Buckeye possession with a baseline jumper, but Wright answered to tie the game for the ninth and final time with 4:42 left.
After two Coleman misses from the charity stripe, Purdue’s Erika Valek hit a 3-pointer to take a 60-57 lead. Coleman responded with a field goal to bring the Buckeyes to within one point for the 11th time before Valek answered yet again with a jumper and Wright made two free throws prior to Reynolds’ trey at the 47-second mark.
In a tight contest during the first ten minutes, Purdue led by as many as six points (14-8) after a Lindsey Hicks basket. The Buckeyes would not back down and answered with a 17-7 run capped by an Allen layup, which put Ohio State ahead of their hosts 25-21. While Purdue whittled the Buckeye lead away over the next five minutes of play and went up by two (29-28) after a pair of Valek free throws, Matter and Coleman combined for seven points and kept the Buckeyes up by one going into the locker room.
Ohio State shot 47.1 (24-51) percent from the field compared to Purdue’s 39.6 (21-53) percent. However, the Boilermakers were a nearly flawless 19-of-20 (.950) from the free-throw line, while Ohio State went 6-of-14 from the stripe (.429).
Junior LaToya Turner added nine points, Reynolds scored six, Allen netted four points and junior Erika Christenson, senior D’wan Shackleford and Wilburn each added two points to round out the Buckeye offensive effort. Allen grabbed a game-high seven rebounds and Coleman earned four steals.
ABOUT NO. 10/11 PURDUE
No. 10/11 Purdue has earned a 21-4 overall mark, a 10-3 Big Ten record and has defended their home court all season by amassing a perfect 13-0 record in Mackey Arena. Their only non-conference loss was in overtime at UC-Santa Barbara, 83-82. The Boilermakers’ three conference losses came at Michigan State (67-62), at Minnesota (90-75) and at Penn State (80-68). The last time the Boilers and the Buckeyes met, Purdue cam away with a 67-62 win in West Lafayette.
Purdue is led by four players who average double-digit scoring: Shereka Wright (19.3), Erika Valek (13.3), Mary Jo Noon (11.4) and Beth Jones (10.0). Wright and Noon have 28 and 27 rejected shots, respectively, and Valek has 75 swipes for the season.
PURDUE’S KRISTY CURRY
Kristy Curry was hired on April 2, 1999, and became the first women’s head coach to inherit a national championship team. In her first season, she led her team to a 23-8 record, a third consecutive Big Ten tournament title and a final ranking of No. 13. She led her team to the Final Four her second season and earned a national runner-up finish, in addition to Big Ten regular-season championship. Last year, the Boilermakers were 31-7 and won a second consecutive conference regular-season title.
Prior to joining the ranks in West Lafayette, Curry spent three years as an assistant at Louisiana Tech, where she helped the Lady Techsters to an overall 92-11 record, a trip the national championship game in 1998 and an appearance in the 1999 Final Four. Curry also served as an assistant at Texas A&M, Tulane and Stephen F. Austin before her stint at Louisiana Tech.
Curry, a 1988 graduate of Northeast Louisiana, and her husband, Kelly, who is an assistant on her Purdue staff, have one daughter, Kelsey.
ALLEN OUT WITH ACL TEAR
Ohio State women’s basketball player Ashley Allen suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear in her left knee during the first half of play at Illinois Feb. 19. The sophomore guard from Indianapolis, Ind., is projected to miss the remainder of the season.
Allen had started in all 25 games for first-year head coach Jim Foster and was averaging 8.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists per outing. She also was ranked second in Big Ten conference games with a 1.59 assist-to-turnover ratio. Allen had accumulated 91 assists this season compared to her rookie campaign, when she distributed 53 assists in 29 contests.
Prior to the game against Purdue, one lucky Buckeye fan will become the owner of a brand new 2003 Honda Accord Coupe. All season, Ohio State women’s basketball supporters have been winning keys by entering online at www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com, buying a raffle ticket before home games and winning the on-court remote control car races during Buckeye games. Today, all 14 people who hold a key will get a chance to start a car, but only one person will start the vehicle and drive away in a brand new Honda.
FOURTH FROM THE FIELD
Ohio State is ranked fourth in the country with a .494 (662-1349) shooting mark. The Buckeyes’ field-goal percentage is ranked second in the Big Ten behind Minnesota, whose .518 (714-1378) shooting percentage is the second-best nationally.
WILBURN EARNS FRESHMAN STEALS RECORD
Freshman Kim Wilburn has accumulated 74 steals this season, including two at Minnesota Feb. 16, which earned her the record for steals by an Ohio State freshman. Martha Baker previously owned the mark for most steals by a rookie Buckeye with 71, which was set during the 1975-76 season.
Wilburn ranks first in conference games with 3.50 steals per game and is second in all games among Big Ten leaders with 2.96 swipes per game. The next closest player in Big Ten games is earning 2.62 steals per game, almost one fewer than Wilburn.
MATTER INCHING HER WAY TO THE BEST 3-POINT MARK BY A BUCKEYE
Sophomore Caity Matter needs four more swishes from downtown to bring her season total to 87, which would give the guard from Bluffton the record for most treys nailed in one season by a Buckeye. The current record is held by Marcie Albert, who sank 86 shots from behind the line during the 1996-97 season. Matter shattered the sophomore record for 3-pointers in one season, which was 51, earlier this year.
COLEMAN NAMED BIG TEN PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Ohio State women’s basketball player Courtney Coleman was named the Big Ten Player of the Week Feb. 10. Coleman, a senior forward form Cincinnati, Ohio, was a major force behind the Buckeye’s two victories over then-No. 15/16 Minnesota (66-58) and Wisconsin (63-40) in Value City Arena.
Coleman, who has lead the country all year in the category of field goal percentage for both men and women, averaged 17.0 points off a combined 14-of-22 effort from the field. Coleman was 7-of-8 vs. the Gophers, played 35 minutes in each game and averaged 8.5 boards an outing. Her nine-rebound effort against a much taller Wisconsin team, who started three players standing at 6-7, 6-5 and 6-3, led the game and her eight boards vs. the Gophers was a Buckeye high mark. Additionally, Coleman was a combined 6-of-8 from the line over the two games.
This is the first such honor for Coleman, who had found her way into the Buckeye record books throughout her four-year tenure at Ohio State. Additionally, this is the first time since the 1994-95 season that two Buckeyes have been honored with the Big Ten Player of the Week award (Caity Matter won earlier this season.) in one season.
101 AND COUNTING
Sophomore Caity Matter and senior DiDi Reynolds are tied for fifth place in the Ohio State career records list with 101 total 3-pointers made apiece. Entering the Minnesota game (Feb. 16), the two Buckeyes were also tied with 98 treys apiece and going into Illinois, Matter and Reynolds were knotted at 99 career treys.
TURNER OUT WITH BROKEN ARM
Junior forward LaToya Turner suffered a radial head fracture in her left arm and will be sidelined four-to-six weeks. The injury occurred during the Minnesota game Feb. 6 in Value City Arena.
A starter for first-year head coach Jim Foster’s Buckeye squad and the 2000 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Turner was averaging 8.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 26.0 minutes of action per game. A native of Pickerington, Ohio, Turner was redshirted last season after having arthroscopic knee surgery Dec. 11. She also missed the majority of the 2000-01 season after Jan. 12 surgery for a torn ACL in her left knee.
HOME IS WHERE THE WINS ARE
After a 63-40 victory over Wisconsin, Ohio State moved to 12-0 overall in Columbus. That home mark is the best for a Buckeye squad since the 1992-93 team went 16-0 and defended St. John Arena.
So, how have they done it? First year head coach Jim Foster and his coaching staff have been perfect in Columbus by beating: Wayne State (100-57), then-No. 19/24 Arizona (84-65), Virginia (73-60), Youngstown State (76-45), Austin Peay (76-60), Northwestern (82-49), then-No. 17/18 Texas (70-66), Michigan State (70-65), Illinois (82-74), Iowa (74-59), then-No. 15/16 Minnesota (66-58) and Wisconsin (63-40).
COLEMAN ON TARGET FOR THE COUNTRY
As of Feb. 17, senior Courtney Coleman is leading the country with her shooting percentages. Coleman’s then .702 field-goal percentage was not only the best among female shooters in the country, but the six-foot-one-forward’s mark also led the Division I men.
Coleman’s current field-goal percentage is .697 (152-218), which would still rank at the top compared to Feb. 17’s second-ranked shooter, Chantelle Anderson of Vanderbilt, who owned a .644 mark prior to this week’s games.
TAKING CARE OF MATTERS BEHIND THE ARC
As of the last NCAA rankings Feb. 17, sophomore Caity Matter was ranked second in the country for her .482 average from the 3-point line. Matter also holds the third spot for treys drained per game with a 3.4 average per outing.
COLEMAN AND MATTER SHOOTING LIGHTS OUT
Not only are sophomore Caity Matter and senior Courtney Coleman the leading scorers for Ohio State – Matter averages 15.4 and Coleman averages 14.6 – but these two women also hold the top spots in Ohio State history. Coleman’s .608 (564-928) career percentage ranks her as the best field-goal shooter in Buckeye history and Matter’s .447 (101-226) is the best among OSU record holders from 3-point land.
BIG TEN BANDITS
Ohio State is ranked first in the Big Ten with 10.44 swipes per outing (11.00 per conference game). The Buckeyes are led by frosh Kim Wilburn, who averages a league-leading 3.50 steals per Big Ten game, almost one better than the second-ranked players.
In the last four games, the Buckeyes have picked off 41 steals compared to Wisconsin, Michigan State, Minnesota and Illinois’ combination of 21 swipes.
COLEMAN CLEARING THE BOARDS
Senior Courtney Coleman is ranked second in conference games and third in overall games with a 3.43 and 3.32 offensive boards average, respectively. The 6-1 forward moved to seventh overall on the Buckeye career records list with 705 total boards after collecting four caroms at Michigan State Feb. 13. Her grand total is 721 career rebounds. Coleman needs six boards to move to 6th on the Ohio State career records list.
DRAINING ‘EM FROM DOWNTOWN
Ohio State is shooting .380 (131-345) from behind the 3-point line this season. The percentage ranks second among Big Ten schools. Sophomore Caity Matter, who is ranked eighth with 15.4 points per game, is largely responsible for the Buckeyes’ hot hand from downtown. She leads the league in treys made per game (3.32) and shooting percentage from behind the arc (.469; 83-177).
Matter’s contributions are not too surprising considering she currently holds the top spot in 3-point percentage among the Buckeye career record books with an overall .447 (101-226) stroke.
FIVE IS A FIRST
In the 82-74 victory over Illinois Jan. 23, Ohio State relied on the even scoring force of five Buckeyes notching double-figures for the first time this season. Senior Courtney Coleman, sophomore Caity Matter, freshman Kim Wilburn, sophomore Ashley Allen and junior LaToya Turner scored 18, 16, 15, 10 and 10 points, respectively.
Two times this season the Buckeyes have accomplished something that no member of the team had ever experienced before. The team’s road win at Wisconsin (57-42) Jan. 16 and the 82-74 victory over Illinois Jan. 23 was a first for this set of Buckeyes. No member of the current Ohio State team had previously earned a victory in Madison or a victory over Illinois – home or away.
TRADING IN TURNOVER TROUBLES
Ohio State, who began with a bit of a struggle in the turnover category, has traded in their turnover woes for a second-place turnover margin ranking in conference outings with a +3.57 mark. The Buckeye are averaging 16.1 turnovers an outing and forcing Big Ten squads to give up the ball 19.7 times per contest. In overall games, the Buckeyes are ranked third with a +3.08 margin and average 16.8 turnovers per game, while forcing teams to surrender the ball 19.9 times per game.
Junior Erika Christenson had a career afternoon vs. Wisconsin Feb. 9 with four points and three rebounds in 16 minutes of play. The 6-4 center has seen more playing time lately due to the absence of junior LaToya Turner, who went down with a broken arm against Minnesota Feb. 6.
SWATTING STUFF NOT JUST FOR THE TALLER PLAYERS
While junior LaToya Turner averaged 1.57 rejected shots an outing, which ranked third among Big Ten leaders before she broke her arm Feb. 6 vs. Minnesota, and senior D’wan Shackleford has 14 blocked shots on the season, the smaller Buckeyes are stepping up to swat stuff as well.
Freshman Kim Wilburn has seven blocked shots to her name as a Buckeye, including two against Minnesota Feb. 19. Sophomore Ashley Allen, who stands at five-feet-nine-inches tall, had recorded a blocked shots in six games this season before tearing her ACL vs. Illinois Feb. 19.
PROVING HER POINT
Freshman Kim Wilburn has proven she belongs at the point of the Ohio State offense with a 1.56 assist-to-turnover ratio in 25 games, including 20 starts, for the Buckeyes. Her ratio is ranked fourth among league leaders. Wilburn is also ranked fourth in the league with an average of five assists per outing.
MATTER NAMED BIG TEN PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Sophomore Caity Matter earned Big Ten Player of the Week honors for her performances at Wisconsin (Jan. 16) and at Northwestern (Jan. 19). Matter was a combined 12-for-21 (.571) from behind the 3-point line, averaged 25.0 points, 5.5 boards and had only one turnover in a total 63 minutes of play. Matter’s award marked the first time since Nov. 20, 2000, that an Ohio State player was named Big Ten Player of the Week when teammate LaToya Turner earned the honor as a freshman.
SCHEDULE STATS & SUCH
Some notes about the Buckeye’s 17-8record:
The Buckeyes’ 17-8 start is the best since the 1995-96 season,when Ohio State also went 17-8 in the first 25 games of the year.Since the NCAA began keeping statistics during the 1981-82 season,Jim Foster’s 17-8 record is the best start for a first-year headcoach since Nancy Darsch went 19-6 in 1985-86 in her first 25 gamesduring her first season at the helm of the Buckeye program. TheBuckeyes’ 8-6 Big Ten record is the best conference mark for anOhio State team since the 1998-99 season when the team was also 8-614 games into the Big Ten portion of their schedule. The last timean Ohio State team was 12-0 at home was during the 1992-93 season.
3-3 VS. TOP 25 SQUADS
The Ohio State Buckeyes are 3-3 vs. ranked teams this season. Ohio State beat No. 15/16 Minnesota, 66-58, (Feb. 6), captured a win over then-No. 17/18 Texas, 70-66, Jan. 5 in St. John Arena, and was victorious over then-No. 19/24 Arizona (84-65) Dec. 15 in Value City Arena. The squad fell at No. 14/15 Penn State Jan. 30 (68-53), at No. 9/10 Purdue (67-62) Feb. 2 and at No. 17/18 Minnesota (73-50) Feb. 16.
REYNOLDS FINE AT THE LINE
Senior DiDi Reynolds is an impressive 28-29 from the free-throw line this season.
The Bascom, Ohio, native has steadily improved over her four years. As a freshman, the shooting guard shot .688 (11-16), her second season she was .765 (26-34) from the charity stripe and last year, she was .841 (37-44) from the line.
ANOTHER TO WATCH AT THE STRIPE
In addition to DiDi Reynolds, sophomore Caity Matter is also a nearly flawless 35-38 on the year from the charity stripe. Her freshman year (2000-01), the Bluffton, Ohio, native was 22-for-25 from the line and ended the year with eight consecutive makes from the line, which extended her total consecutive free-throws made to 31 until she missed the last free throw she took against Michigan State Jan. 9.
Matter missed a stretch of 16 games her freshman campaign due to injury and came back to help the Buckeyes capture the 2001 WNIT Championship. She redshirted last season after she fractured her third metatarsal during a Nov. 11 practice.
STINT OF PERFECTION
In two consecutive games at Northwestern (Jan. 16) and vs. Illinois (Jan. 23), senior forward Courtney Coleman did not miss a field goal. She was 5-for-5 in Evanston and 7-for-7 against the Illini.
FIRST TREY FOR THE ROOKIE
Three of freshman Kim Wilburn’s career-best 18 points against then-No. 15/16 Minnesota Feb. 6 came at the buzzer before the half when she nailed her first 3-pointer while wearing the Scarlet and Gray. Her trey brought the Buckeyes to within four points at the midway mark and Ohio State eventually captured the victory over the Gophers 66-58.
WILBURN SHOWING HER OFFENSIVE SIDE
Making a name for herself in the steals category this season, freshman Kim Wilburn is now showing her offensive side. The Southfield, Mich., native went 8-for 10 and upped her career-high mark for points with 18 against then-No. 15/16 Minnesota Feb. 6. Her previous best offensive performance was 15 points against Illinois Jan. 23 off a 7-for-11 night from the field. The rookie Buckeye point guard is averaging 6.2 points per game.
ALL EYES ON THE BUCKS
Ohio State’s attendance of 6,389 against Iowa in Value City Arena Jan. 26 shattered the season-high mark for the Buckeyes. Ohio State is averaging 3,400 people at all games, 3,179 in Columbus and 3,932 on the road.
SOPHOMORE RECORD ALL MATTER’S
Sophomore Caity Matter, who has a total of 83 3-pointers 25 games into her sophomore season, has earned the record for the most 3-pointers drained by a sophomore in Ohio State history. Former teammate Lauren Shenk held the previous record with 51 shots hit beyond the arc during her sophomore campaign in 1999-00.
MATTER TIES SCHOOL RECORD FROM BEHIND THE ARC
Sophomore Caity Matter was unstoppable behind the 3-point line at Wisconsin. She scored 27 points and nailed seven treys. Seven makes from downtown ties the school single-game record, which is held by former All-American Katie Smith.
MAKING HER WAY IN 42
Sophomore Caity Matter has made her way into Ohio State history in only 42 games wearing Scarlet and Gray. During the 2000-01 season, Matter was a starter until an injury caused her to miss a stretch of 16 games. She averaged 6.4 points per game while shooting 44 percent from the field, 37 percent from three-point range and 88 percent from the free-throw line.
After fracturing her third metatarsal in her left foot during practice Nov. 11, 2001, Matter was granted a medical redshirt for the 2001-02 season.
SHENK NAMED 2003 WOODY HAYES NATIONAL SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Lauren Shenk, a former women’s basketball player at Ohio State, has been named the 2003 Woody Hayes National Scholar-Athlete Award recipient by The University & Northwest Sertoma Club of Columbus. The Woody Hayes National Scholar-Athlete Award is given to the outstanding man and woman in each of the three collegiate divisions for demonstrated excellence in academics, athletics and community service. Shenk, a standout on the Ohio State squad from 1999-02, is the first women from Ohio State to win the award. Previous Buckeye award winners are football players Robert Hoying (1996) and Greg Smith (1993).
Shenk became the 20th member of the Ohio State 1,000-point scoring club with a 16-point effort against the University of Michigan Jan. 10, 2002. Shenk, who began studies last autumn at the OSU College of Medicine, was a 2002 Big Ten Medal of Honor Finalist, a two-time Verizon/CoSIDA Women’s Basketball District IV Academic All-American, a GTE/CoSIDA Women’s Basketball District IV Academic All-American, a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and a four-time OSU Scholar Athlete.
The Buckeyes were 5-0 against French and Swiss opponents during their 12-day tour through Europe. While abroad, the Buckeyes held a 28-point scoring margin of victory, averaged 74.4 points per game and held opponents to 45.8 points per contest on their way to an undefeated record overseas.
Courtney Coleman and LaToya Turner paced the Buckeyes abroad with an average of 15.6 and 14.6 points an outing, respectively. Sophomore Ashley Allen showed her versatility by running the point, dishing out assists and averaging 8.6 points per game, including a 16-point effort against Martigny (Switzerland). Allen also earned five assists, four steals and two rebounds in the Martigny victory.
OH CAPTAIN, OUR CAPTAIN
Senior Courtney Coleman was named the captain for the Ohio State women’s basketball team this season. The senior forward has made her mark on the Ohio State record books and is leading the nation in field-goal percentage.
COLEMAN NAMED TO COLORADO ALL-TOURNEY TEAM
Senior Courtney Coleman was named to the Coors Classic all-tournament team. Coleman was solid offensively for Jim Foster’s Buckeyes by scoring 17 and 18 points against Villanova (Nov. 29) and Hartford (Nov. 30), respectively. The two-time second team all-Big Ten selection shot 16-for-18 from the field, was 3-for-4 from the free-throw line and collected 10 rebounds over the two nights. This was Coleman’s fourth time in as many events to be named to the all-tournament team. Coleman was a member of the Great Alaska Shootout, WNIT and Women’s Sports Foundation Classic all-tournament teams.
HAYNAM PULLING DOUBLE SHIFTS
Junior Emily Haynam became a two-sport athlete when she joined the OSU soccer team as a goalkeeper last spring. Haynam was successful on the soccer field and garnered Big Ten Player of the Week honors for her shutout performances at Wisconsin (Oct. 18) and at Minnesota (Oct. 20). The Buckeye soccer team was defeated by Notre Dame, 3-1, in the first round of the program’s inaugural trip to the NCAA Tournament and went 10-11-1 for the season. Ohio State was 6-3 with Haynam in goal.
CREWS OUT INDEFINITELY
Unfortunately, the European trip came at a cost as sophomore Charisse Crews suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in her right knee while competing abroad with the Buckeyes during their trip through Europe. Crews went down Aug. 30 in Montreux, Switzerland, against Martigny (OSU’s third game of the trip) during the third quarter after scoring seven points that night. Crews underwent surgery in September and is out indefinitely.
BACK IN ACTION
Three Buckeye players return to the hardwood after being granted medical redshirts for the 2001-02 season – junior LaToya Turner, sophomore Caity Matter and freshman Brandee Gibbs. Additionally, junior Tanya McClure was granted a medical redshirt for the 2000-01 season and was injured the majority of the 2001-02 season.
LAST TIME OUT
The Ohio State women’s basketball team (17-8; 8-6 Big Ten) lost to Illinois (15-9; 7-6 Big Ten), 58-54, Feb. 19 in Assembly Hall (Urbana-Champaign, Ill.). Despite having a chance to tie the game in the final 21 seconds, Ohio State could not connect and Illinois’ Aminata Yanni went 1-for-2 from the free-throw line to capture the victory. The Buckeyes were paced by senior Courtney Coleman, who recorded her 14th career double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, classmate D’wan Shackleford, who scored 11 points, seven rebounds and earned three steals and no turnovers, and sophomore Caity Matter, who netted 10 points.
Illinois’ Angelina Williams opened the second half by hitting a bucket and sending her squad up 32-21, which marked the largest lead of the night. However, Ohio State answered with an 11-0 run to knot the game at 32 with 16:57 to go. Senior DiDi Reynolds began the scoring stretch with two free throws, freshman Kim Wilburn converted on a fast-break layup, Matter nailed a trey, and Coleman finished with a bucket and two shots from the charity stripe to cap the run. Illinois answered with an 8-0 scoring spurt and expanded their total run to 16-6 and once again took a double-digit lead (48-38) with 7:23 left.
A Matter bucket and trey sandwiched a Shackleford score to bring the game to within five points, but Illinois’ Williams, who led her team with 15 points, hit a shot to one again to take a seven-point advantage under the five-minute mark. Matter sank two free throws before Janel Hughes connected on a 2-pointer to earn yet another seven point lead (54-47) for UI. Wilburn made two consecutive field goals to pull it to within three points at the 2:17 mark, but Illinois’ Yanni, who was averaging 13.0 points entering tonight’s contest, hit her first shot of the night to stretch the game to five points (56-51) with 2:01 to go. Reynolds drained a shot from beyond the arc to bring the Buckeyes to within two points (56-54) at the 1:19 mark. After an Ohio State turnover, Hughes missed a shot from the charity stripe and sank the second one to give Illinois a 57-54 lead with time running out. Reynolds and Matter each got looks at the bucket, but nothing fell for the Buckeyes as they dropped their third straight on the road.
Coleman and Shackleford each netted eight points in the first half to lead the Buckeyes, but Illinois’ Tiffanie Guthrie scored nine and Jere Issenmann and Hughes added six points apiece to send the Fighting Illini into the locker room with a 30-21 lead. Unfortunately, after an aggressive start, sophomore Ashley Allen went down early in the first half with an injury.
Wilburn accumulated nine points, two assists and two steals and Reynolds earned eight points, four assists and four boards. After going 0-for-5 from the 3-point line in the first half, the Buckeyes shot .500 (4-8) in the final stanza. Additionally, Illinois did not hit a shot from downtown the second half from beyond the arc. Ohio State turned the ball over 20 times, while the Fighting Illini notched 17 turnovers.